Suspended UN ambassador accepts bribery charges

Suspended UN diplomat admits that he has participated in bribing former UN General Assembly president

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Francis Lorenzo, a suspended deputy UN ambassador from the Dominican Republic, exits the Manhattan US District Courthouse in New York on October 26, 2015.

Francis Lorenzo, a suspended deputy United Nations ambassador from the Dominican Republic charged of participating in a scheme to bribe a former UN General Assembly president, according to a court filing, is expected to admit all guilt on Wednesday.

According to a docket entry on Monday, Lorenzo is scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court for a plea hearing. His lawyer also confirmed he would accept the charges at the hearing including conspiracy to commit bribery.

"Ambassador Lorenzo is remorseful and has chosen to accept full responsibility for his participation in his criminal conduct with his co-defendants," said Brian Bieber, Lorenzo's lawyer.

Lorenzo had previously sought to dismiss the charges against him on diplomatic immunity grounds in 2015. 

Lorenzo is one of the six people who are accused in October for being involved in a scheme paying more than $1.3 million in bribes to a former UN ambassador John Ashe who served as General Assembly president from 2013 to 2014.

Prosecutors claim that those bribes included more than $500.000 that Ng Lap Seng, a billionaire real estate developer in Macau, paid Ashe to seek UN support of a UN-sponsored conference center in Macau.

Authorities said Lorenzo was one of the intermediators who prosecutors said also received bribes from Ng, and Jeff Yin, Ng’s assistant.

Prosecutors also said that Ashe received more than $800.000 from Chinese businessmen to support their interest within the United Nations and Antigua.

Those bribes were transmitted through Sheri Yan, Global Sustainability Foundation’s chief executive, and Heidi Hong Piao, the foundation’s finance director, said prosecutes. Both has accepted charges in January.

Lorenzo will plead guilty at Wednesday’s hearing to several charges including he engaged in conspiracies to commit bribery and money laundering and filed false tax returns, Bieber said.

TRTWorld and agencies